How to Build a Bug Out Bag for a Family of 4 on a Budget
Building the Ultimate Bug Out Bag
So I recently set out to build a Bug Out Bag (BOB) or set of them for my family of four. This turned out to be a more difficult task than I estimated. Putting together a list of items to have in the bag(s) was easy. There are thousands of posts, articles, and pins on Pinterest about building a BOB. So I compiled many of these lists into a spreadsheet and came up with what I thought was the best possible BOB there was. Unfortunately on paper the thing weighed over 60 pounds and cost well over 500 dollars and that was just for 1 person.
Because the bag that I built in the spreadsheet was so impractical, I came up with other options and a different solution. In this post I will describe the options I came up with and my reasoning for them. I will also provide links to the items that I included in the bag, minus a few things that can probably be found in your home already. This is a long post so I have included a table of contents. You can jump ahead to the end or back to each section if you wish.
I have included links and prices for most items off Amazon.com. In my area there really isn’t a good source for survival gear with competitive prices. Most will need to be ordered online. You may be able to source items cheaper where you live or at other websites and that may lower the cost. I have found that Amazon is usually competitive with the pricing, has helpful reviews, and I am a Prime member so I have free shipping.
Ultimate Dad Bug Out Bag (Bad Idea)
Below is list of items that I put together for the Ultimate Dad BOB. In this scenario, my wife and kids each had their own bag. My wife’s bag was similar to mine. The kids had clothes, comfort items, food and water. All combined, it was over 160 lbs of gear in 4 bags and over $1000. This was just too impractical. This load out would have everything we needed to survive in a location where we had to be self reliant. It included shelter, food, water, warm gear, and anything else we would need for 72 hrs. The only thing we would need to worry about after 72 hrs would be food. I could see this kit working if you could vehicle carry it, and you needed to stay outside such as a refugee camp after a disaster.
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Real World Dad Bug Out Bag (Better but not Great)
After I realized that the ultimate BOB was not practical, I tried to cut down on the weight and cost of the BOBs. Here is what I came up for a real world build it yourself BOB. My wife would have a similar kit and the kids would have clothes, comfort items, food and water. In this configuration I was able to bring the weight down to a little over 50 lbs and the cost to around $250 for the one bag. All combined the bags had about 143 lbs of gear and the total cost was around $560. The 50+ lbs bag was still a problem and the cost at $560 was still outside our budget. This load out was still better suited to being vehicle equipped.
2 Bug Out Bags (Best Solution)
The cost of the Real World Dad BOB scenario made it impossible. The amount of weight each family member had to carry made it impractical. So I started to consider the option of a off the shelf BOB with and additional bag for the extras my family needs. This is the solution I settled on. This solution is designed for hotel stays in the event we need to bug out due to natural disasters. It does have some survival gear if we needed to stay outside though.
I decided to go with this Urban Survival Kit Four For Earthquakes, Hurricanes, Floods, Tornadoes, Emergency Preparedness. It contains all the items in the following table. The items are not the high quality items that were in the Ultimate Dad BOB. However, at $175 and 24 lbs it is a good cost/weight compromise. I would augment this kit. I will describe that below.
|(1) Large Tactical Water Resistant Backpack,
(32) Datrex Emergency Water Packs (4.2oz each),
(2) 3600 Calorie Datrex Emergency Food Bars (eighteen food rations per bar),
(1) Adventure Medical First Aid 2.0 Kit (93 piece kit w/scissors and tweezers),
(1) 32oz Nalgene Ultralight Bottle,
(1) Bottle 50ct Potable Aqua Tabs – Purifies 6 plus gallons of water,
(4) BRW Emergency Sleeping Bags (waterproof, windproof, and lightweight),
(4) BRW Ponchos,
(4) 24 Hour Body Warmers, (3) Snaplight 12 Hour Light Sticks,
(25) Feet of 500lb Grade Paracord,
(1) Button Compass,
(1) Emergency Whistle,
(1) Stainless Steel Multi-tool,
(1) Bic Lighter,
(1) Eton Clipray Dynamo Flashlight and Cell Phone Charger,
(1) Deck Playing Cards,
(4) N95 Dust Masks,
(2) Pair Canvas Work Gloves,
(1) Zippmo Sanitary Kit.
Because I have the 4 people to care for, I would buy an additional bag and have these items as and augment.
|Self-defense weapon (on person, not in bag)|
|Bug out bag||3.2||45.95||http://amzn.to/2oeQElw|
|Battery-powered or hand-crank radio||0.5||17.99||http://amzn.to/2nYrF98|
|High power Flashlight||0.25||8||http://amzn.to/2np6VEj|
|Fixed blade knife||1|
|Batteries AAA x16.||0.5|
|Multi Purpose Hatchet||2|
|Heavy duty work gloves||0.25|
|cotton balls with petroleum jelly||0.25|
|Spare glasses and glasses case||0.25|
|Food and Water|
|Water Bottles x8||12.5||1.5|
|Clothing x4 (1 set for each)|
|A binder will all your important documents like ssn cards, birth certificates, shot records, passport.||2|
|Charging kit: All the cords you need for your phones. Optional is a solar charger for phones and batteries||0.25|
|Fun stuff. Comfort your family or pass the time with a deck of cards, coloring books, stuffed animals, and puzzles or board games.||2|
Finally, because I have minimized the carry load I would augment the gear with a vehicle load if possible. Something like this. I also need to have a BOB for our pets which would have food, water, and toys.
|Adult Sleeping bag x2||3.5||27||http://amzn.to/2obChOL|
|Child Sleeping bag x2||2.5||25||http://amzn.to/2o4NzqN|
|Mess Kit w/Firestarter||1.2||19||http://amzn.to/2nVLpJR|
|1 Month Value Long Term Pantry Supply of Freeze Dried Survival Food for Emergency Preparedness – Valley Food Storage||11.8||130||http://amzn.to/2oeQZob|
|Camping stove and cook set||2||13||http://amzn.to/2nuOGyR|
|Batteries AAA x16.||0.5||11.6||http://amzn.to/2nYmMN5|
|Fuel Cans x5||42.5||150||https://www.walmart.com/ip/Best-Choice-Products-SKY1705-Jerry-Can-Gas-Caddy-Tank-5-Gal-20L-Gasoline-Gas-Fuel-Can-Emergency-Backup/122628489|
|Water Bottle case||44||5|
|Duct tape roll||1|
Well if you made it this far, thank you. This is my version of a load out for my family of 4. The cost is still higher than I wanted but if I cut it down any less than I would be sacrificing quality or completeness of the gear. I may continue to source out items and see if I can lower the cost. This configuration including the truck load out would be right at $1000. That seems like a lot, well that is because it is. But how much is your families safety, and comfort worth during and after a disaster? For me, it is priceless.